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1930, Rialto Pictures, 92 min, UK, Dir: Alfred Hitchcock

The plight of the wrongly accused was something director Alfred Hitchcock returned to often in his career; here a young actress (Norah Baring) is mistakenly condemned for murder. Enter Sir John Menier (a wonderfully affable Herbert Marshall), a juror browbeaten into a guilty verdict who decides to investigate the woman’s case on his own. Hitchcock’s resourcefulness in the early sound era can be seen in the shaving sequence, where Sir John’s thoughts were prerecorded and played back on set, and the radio music he’s listening to is an orchestra performing offscreen.

1931, Rialto Pictures, 77 min, UK, Dir: Alfred Hitchcock

Director Alfred Hitchcock zeros in on class conflict in this film - specifically the conflict between the old-money Hillcrest and the nouveau riche Hornblower families. The two face off at a land auction (in a sequence that’s among the best of Hitchcock’s early British talkies), but a young woman is ruined in the process. Edmund Gwenn and Phyllis Konstam are excellent as the industrialist Hornblower and his disgraced daughter-in-law.

1931, Rialto Pictures, 78 min, Germany/UK, Dir: Alfred Hitchcock

Early talkies were occasionally produced in parallel in different languages, and this version of MURDER! made for the German market was shot on the same sets at the same time as the English-language thriller. A juror (Alfred Abel) who reluctantly voted to convict a woman (Olga Tschechowa) of murder investigates the case, trying to resolve his doubts before her execution. In German with English subtitles.

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